Pumpkin Coconut Squares are scrumptious treat for Halloween

Here’s a scrumptious treat for Halloween. It happens to be too delicate to give away to the trick-or-treaters, but it’s just right for y-o-u and your family and friends at a Halloween party or dinner.

Preparing Pumpkin Coconut Squares takes some time, but it’s mostly waiting time, not hands-on time. This beauty is four layers thick, and two of them require time to set up. There’s a gingersnap crust on the bottom, a layer of pumpkin/coconut milk puree, a layer of tart cream cheese and a topping of toasted coconut flakes.

If you’ve ever dug into a pumpkin pie or dessert and wondered where the flavor went, I can pinpoint the problem: Pumpkin puree is terribly watery whether it’s fresh or canned. It occurred to me that draining it would concentrate the flavor, and here’s how to do it: First, wrap it in a layer of cheesecloth, then tie the cheesecloth like a hobo’s sack to a chopstick, skewer, or dinner knife, and finally hang the sack over a deep bowl. Let it drip, drip, drip for eight hours or overnight. Afterward, there will be a fair amount of water at the bottom of the bowl — and even more in the cheesecloth. Squeeze the cheesecloth gently to remove the additional water. When you’re done, you will have captured and eliminated anywhere from ½ cup to ¾ cup water from the puree. (If you don’t have cheesecloth, a coffee filter will do the trick.) Be sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling, which is presweetened.

If you’re inclined to lighten up the recipe, swap in light coconut milk, one-third-less-fat cream cheese and unsweetened coconut flakes for the specified full-fat ingredients. Then again, it is Halloween and these Pumpkin Coconut Squares are an old-fashioned holiday treat. Feel free to enjoy the uncensored version.

PUMPKIN COCONUT SQUARES

Start to finish: 11 hours, 20 minutes (30 active)

Servings: Makes 36 squares

One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus extra for buttering the pan

1 1/2 cups finely…

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